The United States women’s national team is advancing to the semifinals of the World Cup. There’s two elements to this: one, a tenacious defense that looked like they had decided on “death before dishonor” as their ethos for this game, and gay heartthrob Megan Rapinoe.
Rapinoe dropped two goals on France over the course of a tense game played out in the sticky heat currently swamping Paris. The first was an early wonder, the ball somehow scooting through a sea of legs and into the goal.
The second was a well-worked ball that exposed a giant lapse in the French defense as Alex Morgan played in Tobin Heath, whose pass cut across the box found Rapinoe as open as Julie Andrews larking through the hills of Austria.
If you couldn’t believe how open Pinoe was, neither could she. “I was like this is not falling to me right now,” she said in the mixed zone. “I actually had so much time to think I was like oh my god, just bang it home.”
She did bang it home, and with Wendie Renard snatching a header back for France, it ended up being the game winner. That’s particularly satisfying for Rapinoe fans who spent this week basically telling a certain someone to keep Rapinoe’s name out of his mouth. Rapinoe didn’t mention him by name at all in the mixed zone though, even when asked if it felt particularly good to emerge as one of the heroes of this game after being disparaged by a high profile idiot.
“I think there’s always satisfaction,” she said of her goals and the win. “I don’t really get energized by haters or all that. I feel like there’s so many more people who love so I’m like, hey, you love me, this is great. I’m more energized by that.”
In fact, it meant more to Rapinoe that this performance came during LGBTQ Pride Month, and the night before the Paris Pride march.
“Go gays,” Rapinoe said emphatically, flashing double peace signs in front of the assembled press. “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team, it’s pretty much never been done before ever. Science, right there.” She grinned as she said it, perhaps only halfway facetious.
Rapinoe added, “I think, not the haters, but yeah, I’m motivated by people like me and people who are fighting for the same things and I take more energy from that than trying to prove everyone wrong all the time. That’s sort of draining to me. So yeah, to be gay and fabulous during pride month at the World Cup is nice.”
Gay: check. Fabulous: big double check. From Megan Rapinoe to all the queer soccer fans out there, that one was for you.